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November 2023 Monthly Update

November 2023 Monthly Update

November is the month for giving thanks, and we’re grateful for all of the experiences we’ve shared as a team and with our partners this month. The Early Educator Investment Collaborative awarded $9M in grants to support public systems innovations in increasing wages and benefits for the early childhood education workforce; LPIC was named as one of three grantees alongside the Colorado Department of Early Childhood and the District of Columbia Office of the State Superintendent of Education. This grant will allow our team and partners in Louisiana to work toward building an equitable system that recognizes early care and education teachers and staff as the crucial members of our education system that they are.

Earlier this month, Partnerships Director, Candace Weber, PhD, attended the Southern Education Foundation’s Issues Forum in Charlotte, NC and presented her research on the impacts and outcomes of early care and education policies in Louisiana, including how eligibility for subsidies, rising cost-of-care, limited availability, and geographical location adversely affect lower middle-class-families in Louisana. This historic conference brought together education leaders, scholars, educators, advocates, students, and other allies to build an agenda for addressing the South’s most important issues in education — inequitable resources and opportunities for students, increasing racial segregation, and the need for expanded early childhood education. 

Policy Analyst, Zoe Johnson, hit the ground running this month by attending the Paid Family Medical Leave Policy Academy in Nashville, TN. This unique experience provided an opportunity for multidisciplinary state teams to engage in a collaborative effort to usher an evidence-based, equitable PFL policy into law. Participants consulted with state and national experts and had the opportunity to engage in extensive state team planning time. 

We are so grateful for our partners across the state like the Wilcox Early Learning Academy which celebrated the grand opening of their newest early care and education center on the campus of Southern University at New Orleans (SUNO). We are so proud of Rochelle and her team for opening their fourth location. The Wilcox Early Learning Academy at SUNO is the first public/private partnership creating an early childhood education learning lab center at an HBCU in New Orleans.

We want to give an early welcome to our newest team member, Mattilyn Karst Batson. Mattilyn will officially join us on December 1st as our Policy & Research Director. Most recently, Mattilyn served as the inaugural director of Early Childhood Systems under Gov. John Bel Edwards. In this role, she led investments in early childhood programs in Louisiana. In her role, Mattilyn will utilize her background in sociology and public policy to contribute to our mission of advancing policies to ensure our state’s youngest learners are ready for success in school and in life.

Following the results of the November elections, we are in communication with our newly elected officials, offering them pertinent data and research as they move into their new leadership roles. We look forward to working with new and veteran policymakers in the upcoming year. 

Thank you for remaining steadfast in your advocacy on behalf of young children and families in Louisiana. As we all know, in order for us to Geaux Far for Louisiana’s young children, we must geaux together.

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